In an effort to address the ongoing struggle to maintain the streets in Williams, the Williams City Council approved a $406,950 purchase for a new asphalt paver at their regular meeting Sept. 28.
Over the past few months, Mayor John Moore has met with city staff to discuss options for the long-term pavement management program. Following an evaluation of the streets program, the staff determined a city owned asphalt paver would save money in the long-run. The purchase also allows the city to quickly address emergency repairs and begin to tackle an inventory of road repair issues.
The council approved the purchase of an Empire-Cat AP655F paver on a lease purchase at $4,802 per month based on an 84-month term at 4.2 percent. At the end of the term, the city can make a final payment of $78,000 to own the machine.
According to Moore, the city hopes to follow the paver purchase with a purchase of a crack sealer machine.
“I know it’s a costly project, and we can keep contracting with people, but all the money we spend goes to somebody else,” Moore said. “For what we save by doing it ourselves, we can do a lot of streets.”
Williams City Finance Director Keith Buonocore said the city has a written inventory of streets that need work, and the purchase of the machinery will allow the city to begin to take care of those problems.
“This is something we can afford,” Buonocore said.
Moore said the city already owns several pieces of equipment that can help in the paving process including a truck that can spread oil.
“We have one employee now who is very experienced operating an asphalt spreader and is anxious to get this going,” he said. “And we have other folks who are plenty capable of being trained.”
Buonocore said the asphalt paver will have a warranty and the company will provide training.
Amendment to dog ordinance
In other business, Williams Animal Control Officer Leah Payne requested the council consider an amendment to an ordinance relating to adequate shelter for dogs in the city limits.
According to Payne, the current city ordinance limits her ability to enforce proper care for dogs by the wording of the ordinance.
Payne said the current ordinance is vague in describing the conditions required for caring for a dog. She said the ordinance reads “Properly caring for a dog requires providing a dog with sufficient food and water, maintaining the dog in good health and providing the dog with adequate shelter from the elements.”
The new amendment would provide more detail as to how adequate shelter and inclement weather are defined.
“We really don’t have anything that specifies what adequate shelter is,” Payne said. “Common sense tells us what it is, but I think we need to update it (the ordinance) so we can better protect certain breeds.”
The new amendment defines inclement weather as weather conditions that are likely to adversely affect the health of safety of the dog, including but not limited to rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind or extreme heat and cold.
Adequate shelter is further defined as protection from the sun by natural or artificial means, and a housing facility must be provided that has a waterproof roof, insulation and ventilation for the local climate conditions.
The housing must allow each dog freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustment, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs outstretched.
Violations of the ordinance could result in seizure of the animal and/or a fine of at least $75 for a first time offense, and $100 for each subsequent offense.
“What we are adding on to the ordinance will give me a little bit more law to explain with when dealing with (pet owners),” Payne said.
Payne went on to say some pet owners provide the bare minimums, but some dogs need more care in extreme temperatures.
“Is it good for a Chihuahua even though they are providing those bare minimums for it? Is it good for a Chihuahua to be outside in zero degrees in three feet of snow?” she asked.
Council tabled the discussion to allow for two more readings of the proposed ordinance in accordance with council procedures.
Four-day work week reevaluated
Moore began a discussion with the council and city staff regarding whether the city should return to a five-day work week.
“Several people have approached me saying we need to be here five days a week,” Moore said. “I know other council folks have discussed it with citizens too.”
Moore said he believes the decision to keep City Hall open four days per week was an effort to save the city money. He said he doesn’t think any money has been saved with the effort and a need exists to keep the city building staffed on Fridays.
“I think the city should be open full-time for our residents,” said council member Dawn Trapp. “People call on that fifth day and nobody is here to get business done.”
Council discussed the option of having some essential staff on duty on Fridays and leaving some staff on a four-day schedule.
“I know people on my staff would like to keep it at four days so they don’t have to commute that extra day,” Buonocore said. “They’re getting their work done in their 10-hour shifts.”